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Brief Published: 11 Feb 2014

Branded Entertainment


The entrance of new digital players into original content production is revitalising the entertainment industry – and brands can play a key part.

Italian luxury brand Gucci screened a documentary the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2013 offering insight into 18 months of the life of Frida Giannini, the brand’s creative director. Brand ambassador and creative James Franco directed the film, earning the kudos required for a further release at Paris Couture Week in January 2014. See Fashion Film & E-Commerce for more.

Similarly, at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, international skincare brand Dove released a short documentary entitled Selfie, echoing the brand message of self-worth championed by its award-winning Real Beauty campaign last year. Branded content at such an independent event would have been unthinkable five years ago, but good-quality content can entertain and make an impact regardless of its origins.

Irish stout brand Guinness started the year with a new campaign called Made of More that documents the lives of the Sapeurs – a group of African men from the Republic of Congo who use style as a means of identity and communication (pictured). Their devotion to grooming and dressing in the style of the European dandies is a form of self-expression and a statement against a harsh economy – an ethos Guinness is keen to associate itself with.

Further still, US-based Mexican grill chain Chipotle is taking its unconventional marketing tactics to the next level with an original TV series. Farmed and Dangerous will promote its concerns about sustainable agriculture and the treatment of animals. Set to go live on streaming site Hulu in the coming months, the series aims to strike the same emotional chord as The Scarecrow advert did in 2013. See YouTube Storytelling for more.

Alongside high production values, engaging narrative and a celebrity or two (see how American restaurant chain Denny’s tapped US comedy stars in Always Open), invisible branding is the key to successful branded content. For Chipotle, the hype generated pre-release is enough without flashy logos and product placement. Stay tuned for a more in-depth discussion with Tim Piper, founder of Piro Vision, the production company behind the series. 

For now, see The Future of Branded Content, The Value of Long Form and The Golden Age of Branded Videos for more.